Why I Can't Take Things Sitting Down

My first standing desk was built of books. Many of the rooms at the Florentine Films edit house are bordered by books: books used by past films, books supplying fodder for future films, and books about the films themselves.  I gathered a combination that would build a laptop-topped tower of just the right height, and so the books served the research process in a different way. My improvised standing desk was in response to a bevy of blogs populating my RSS feed warning about the perils of sitting (even as I write). Sitting shuts your body down, sitting makes you fat, sitting will kill you. Not wanting to die, I stood up, and after a week or two of adjustment standing became my default working pose.

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As you might expect if you follow health news, the spate of pro-standing article were followed by a few pointing out that standing all day also carried its own risks, though these tended towards the pedestrian (Standing evidently puts you at more risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome due to excessive leaning, so don't excessively lean when you stand, you drifter.). The middle-of-the-road solution is to sit while making sure you're getting up and walking around every twenty minutes.

Thing is, once you start standing, sitting starts to suck. After twenty minutes in a chair my rear is ready for other things. I can slightly mitigate my discomfort by flexing the muscles in my butt and legs, particularly if there's a crossbar I can brace my feet against, but this brings only fleeting relief.  The solution is standing, and my butt needs about ten minutes to recuperate before it can countenance being smashed and smothered again.

The dot-connectors among you have realized this makes many routine situations a pain in the butt for me. When dining out, I'm itching to stand up and move around shortly after the drinks are served. On road trips, I used to be the kind of guy who would only stop to refuel; now I'm fidgeting before I cross Atlanta's perimeter. I avoided the lavatory on flights, now I use them every time as pretext for limb stretching.  These days when I see a movie I try to sit near the aisle so I can escape to the wings halfway through (only once per movie lest others think me incontinent).

I’ll admit to being irked by the soft bigotry of no standing stations. As a good German I tend not to flout social convention, especially if it would put everyone else’s head at gut height.  Standing draws focus and can also be perceived as a sign of restlessness--i.e. “Why don’t you sit down and stay awhile?”--so I sit when I must and fake the need to pee when I can sit no longer.

One day, when the world is more sensitive to standers, everyone will rise to a higher plane. Desks and tables will be 40 inches tall, with high chairs for those who want them. The dichotomy between sitting and standing will be broken, for we will all be equal from the waist up.